The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Make it: Use your noodle to make this lantern

With a few supplies, you’ll have a colorful way to light up the night.

(Kris Coronado)

Ah, ’tis the season of pool noodles. Got an extra one hanging around? A little creativity can give it a starring role on a warm summer night. Slicing a little foam from the floating toy can help you create a lantern to use after sunset.

Adult’s help: Some

Hand’s on time: 45 minutes

Total time: 1 ½ days


• Pool noodle

• Ruler

• Table knife

• Battery-operated tea light

• One 12-by-12-inch clear plastic sheet (craft store)

• One 9-by-12-inch black sheet adhesive foam paper (craft store, Amazon)

• Brightly colored glitter glue

• Scissors

• Hole puncher

• 1½ feet black paracord
(craft store, Amazon)

• Pen


1. Measure one inch from the end of the noodle, slice off with table knife.

2. Place the small noodle piece upright on a table, cut side up. Press the tea light inside the noodle until the top is level with the surface. If your noodle’s hole is too small, you can widen by removing foam with your fingers.

3. Measure and cut the clear sheet to make it 8-by-10-inches.

4. On the back of the foam paper, measure and draw two 1½ -inch-wide strips that run lengthwise. Cut with scissors.

5. Unpeel adhesive backing cover from the foam strips (except for the last two inches) and press strips along the 10-inch sides of clear sheet. This will make the lantern’s top and bottom. The last two inches of covered foam paper will hang off the clear sheet.

6. Flip the sheet over and decorate the space between the strips using glitter glue, however you want with as many colors as you like. (We went with a swirl pattern.) Let dry overnight.

7. With the foam strips on the outside, roll the sheet in on itself and around the pool noodle at the bottom. Secure in place by removing the remaining sticker covers and wrapping around the top and bottom.

8. At the top of the lantern, punch two holes across from each other with the hole puncher. You may need an adult’s help to get through both the plastic and foam layers.

9. Pull the paracord through the holes, tying in place on both sides with double knots.

10. Flip on the switch at the bottom of your lantern, and let it shine.

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